Kukla's Korner

St. Louis Fans Back at the Rink

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Eric McErlain at The Sporting News:

But then the wheels came off the bus after the lockout. With the team crashing through the standings and dealing many of its most popular players at the trade deadline, the Blues dropped from sixth overall in league attendance (18,560) to 27th (14,213) before cratering in dead last (12,520) for the 2006-07 season.

With the arrival of new management under Team President John Davidson, the Blues rebounded last season to 13th overall (17,610) through the use of some innovative marketing—particularly free food nights and a nifty television spot where individual players made their pitch to woo back the thousands of fans who had suddenly disappeared. Toss in the signing of free agent winger Paul Kariya, and the Blues had given the locals a reason to care again.

The improvement has continued into this season, with the team now ranked eighth overall (18,961) and ahead of two Canadian franchises, Vancouver and Edmonton.

continued…

The comparison to the Canadian clubs might be inadvertently misleading, as Vancouver and Edmonton have attendance numbers at 101.1% capacity and 98.5% capacity respectively, whereas the Blues are at 90.3% capacity. (And if you look at it another way and resort the data to look at the capacity percentage, St. Louis falls to 20th in the league.)

But regardless, that doesn’t change the fact that St. Louis fans are returning to their rink in ever-increasing numbers after a few bad years, which is great news.

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, St. Louis Blues, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: attendance, hockey+fans

Tocchet Wants More Grit

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Lightning Strikes,

Lightning coach Rick Tocchet was adamant this morning that he wants to see better intensity and grit from his players, especially in the form of going to the net, or playing time will be lost and benchings may occur. Tocchet originally spoke about the power play and how he might start changing personnel, but later said his edict was for the entire team.

“This is for everybody,” Tocchet said. “If the results aren’t there, there has to be a time for the coach, I don’t care who it is, you’re not going to play. I don’t know if we’re at that time yet, but it’s getting close. We’re going to have to get a little bit of urgency. We thought we had taken some baby steps, but then Jersey happened.”

continued

Filed in: NHL Teams, Tampa Bay Lightning, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Caps Attendance Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Ted Leonsis at Ted’s Take,

We are humbled as the Caps are now ranked as a Top 10 team in the NHL in paid admissions with only Minnesota, Buffalo, Detroit and Philadelphia ahead of us for US -based teams. We are up in paid admissions more than 27 percent year over year. Only Chicago is growing faster than us.

more

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ted+leonsis

Injuries And The Vezina Race

Blog: The Puck Stops Here By PuckStopsHere

Before the season began, most people would have predicted the Vezina Trophy would go to one of Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils, Roberto Luongo of the Vancouver Canucks or Evgeni Nabokov of the San Jose Sharks but each of them has missed time to injury.  Brodeur had surgery on his elbow and should be out for several months.  Luongo has a groin injury and should be out for at least a month.  Nabokov has a rather unimpressive .891 saves percentage and has missed three weeks with a lower body injury.  None of them look likely to win the Vezina at this point.  That leaves a wide open Vezina race with some unexpected candidates. 

Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins has established himself as the front-runner with a league leading .944 saves percentage and a 1.80 goals against average.  If the season ended now, he would be the runaway choice for the Vezina.  If the season ended now, I would also nominate Niklas Backstrom of the Minnesota Wild along with Luongo.  With Luongo’s injury, it is unlikely that he will maintain his position as a Vezina nominee for much longer.  The most likely candidate to replace him is Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers.  These are new names to enter the Vezina race.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | The Puck Stops Here | Permalink
 

Impact Players of the Season

Blog: KK Hockey By Alanah McGinley

From Michael Farber at Sports Illustrated,

With a quarter of the season and Barry Melrose gone—Barry, we hardly knew ye, at least this go-around—it is time to look at the players who, point for point and dollar for dollar, have had the most profound impact since joining new teams in 2008-09.

1. Dan Boyle,
Sharks defenseman, $6.67 million

The Sharks are getting their money’s worth out of a defenseman who signed a six-year deal with Tampa Bay (Melrose’s old team) last February but was traded to the Sharks on July 4. Like the estimable work of Brian Campbell in Chicago—Campbell had a trade-deadline spell with the Sharks last season—Boyle has come in to run the power play, move the puck and make the glut of high-end San Jose forwards better.

continued…

Filed in: NHL Teams, San Jose Sharks, NHL Talk, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Shanahan Talk

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Bob McKenzie of TSN,

While there are some eastern conference teams that are seriously interested in Shanahan, they would have to make deals or clear cap space or get permission from ownership to increase the budget and the truth of the matter is those things are not easily done in today’s game.

So while Shanahan realizes he may have no other choice at some point but to play in the West if he wants to play, he has not yet exhausted all his Eastern Conference possibilities and if it means waiting an extra day or week or whatever to get the right fit closer to home, that apparently is the route he is going to take.

read on and some Sundin talk too…

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: brendan+shanahan

Happy Thanksgiving Mac…Now Get To Grand Rapids

Blog: Abel to Yzerman By IwoCPO

UpdateHolland told Khan(!) that after the way West trip, energy’s the thing. 

Darren Helm called up today, McCarty sent down.  Why?  It’s Cleary-related, according to MacLeod.

Darren Helm’s stay in Detroit won’t likely last long. He was told that he’d just be with the Red Wings for one game, but general manager Ken Holland said that he’d re-assess when Dan Cleary’s (scratched cornea) status for Friday is clearer.

“I don’t think I’ll be here too long,” said Helm, who drove to Detroit last night. “But it’s another good opportunity.”

Also, I answered a few questions for a Montreal blogger this morning. I’d tell you the name of it, but I can’t pronounce it.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: | Abel to Yzerman | Permalink
 

Wings Recall Helm, Demote McCarty

Blog: Hockey News Wire By Paul

The Red Wings today recalled forward Darren Helm from the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League and assigned forward Darren McCarty to the Griffins.  The Red Wings also assigned forward Randall Gelech from Grand Rapids to Rochester (AHL).

Helm is currently second on the Griffins roster in scoring with 18 points in 16 games (5-13—18).

Filed in: NHL Teams, Detroit Red Wings, | Hockey News Wire | Permalink
 

ASG Voting Results For Western Conference

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

New York (November 26, 2008) – Determined that recognition of their heroes’ latest Stanley Cup triumph continues long after the presentation of the chalice, the parade through Detroit and the banner-raising on opening night, the fans of Hockeytown have stormed the cyber ballot box.

        Four members of the defending champion Red Wings are among the leaders at their respective positions in the XM NHL® All-Star Fan Balloting presented by 2K Sports that will select the starting lineups for the 2009 All-Star Game in Montreal.

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Fighting Words

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

via Mike Knobler of the AJC,

(Ian)White called Kovalchuk “selfish” for going after him and taking a double-minor that could have hurt Atlanta. Kovalchuk said he was just finishing what White started.

White’s version: “I finished my check off. Clean hit. And then he took a run at me on the far blue [line]. So I followed him up the ice, I was saying something to him, and he stopped, and I wasn’t expecting that, obviously. I was protecting myself. That’s the ugly part of the game. He’ll get what’s coming to him.”

Kovalchuk: “Whatever he wants to say. The score on the board, we win. We get two points [in the standings]. We’ve got three games [left] against them, so if he’s got something he wants to say, I’m always ready to answer.”

Watch the fight below…

 

Continue Reading »

Filed in: NHL Teams, Atlanta Thrashers, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: ian+white, ilya+kovalchuck

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